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Holistic Pregnancy: Rejecting the Theory of the Adversarial Mother
Hastings Women's Law Journal (2015)
  • Rona Kaufman Kitchen, Duquesne University School of Law

In its zealous effort to protect the lives and health of unborn children, the law frequently views the expecting mother with suspicion. In its most extreme form, the law regards the potential mother as a potential murderess. This perspective does not reflect the nature of pregnancy, it undermines the autonomy of loving mothers, and it is detrimental to children. Regardless of whether there is any conflict between mother and fetus, the State presumes the mother to be a threat to her fetus and subjugates her rights as a result. The State interferes with the mother’s autonomy, bodily integrity, parental rights, and physical freedom. This overreach of authority has disastrous consequences for mothers, children, and families. This article proposes a reconceptualization of pregnancy that reflects maternal and scientific understandings of pregnancy. Further, it offers a path toward recognition of the pregnant woman as an expecting mother

  • pregnant women,
  • women's rights,
  • equal protection,
  • fetal rights,
  • unborn children,
  • involuntary treatment,
  • bodily integrity,
  • state intervention,
  • adversarial view,
  • separate existence view,
  • unique relational existential reality,
  • criminal law,
  • family law,
  • constitutional law,
  • medical intervention,
  • dependency and neglect,
  • feminist legal theory,
  • pregnancy,
  • mothers,
  • children,
  • feminist epistemology
Publication Date
Summer 2015
Publisher Statement
Originally published in Hastings Women's Law Journal
Citation Information
Rona Kaufman Kitchen. "Holistic Pregnancy: Rejecting the Theory of the Adversarial Mother" Hastings Women's Law Journal Vol. 26 Iss. 2 (2015)
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